Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

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  1. #1
    Basic Account Holder SteveMetal Novitiate

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    Default DWP Overpayment

    My wife has received a letter from DWP debt managementicon about an overpaymenticon for Carer's Allowance which she owes which dates back to January - March 2002.

    The letter is asking her to pay back the money immediately and giving her the option to contact them to discuss repayment terms. The letter ends in:
    What happens next
    If we do not hear from you by 03/08/2010 we will consider taking further action to recover this money from you, therefore please do not ignore this letter.

    Now I am aware that they cannot take court action to recover this money due to the debt being over 6 yearsicon old, and the only way they can get the money is by deducting it from benefits (which she currently does not receive).

    I am guessing that going by the wording in the last paragraph they are aware of the fact that they cannot enforce this debt and are hoping she will just pay up.

    She is not even convinced that she owe's this money as she thought she had finished claming this benefit back in October 2001, but she is not certain on this.

    Are there any templateicon letters which I post off to them requesting information of the dates and payments for which she has supposedly received these overpayments, and also requesting proof that she owes this debt. And due to the age of it would it be worth sending a letter stating the fact that it is over 6 years old and has become unenforceable in law. Again, are there any templateicon letters for this?

    I've seen the Statue Barred template letters but i'm guessing that the wording on this letter would not be suitable for the DWP.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.


  2. #2
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    Default Re: DWP Overpayment

    i am not that convinced that the statute barredicon laws would be effective here as it is government money we are talking about..i would certainly inquire about dates and payments that these alleged overpayments covered..unfortunately i am more at ease with consumer debt where statute barred would apply..but i have my doubts that as this was an overpaymenticon it would not apply..i know people who have been chased for back council tax going back over 6 years that they have ended up paying so as say not too sure it applies


  3. #3
    Basic Account Holder SteveMetal Novitiate

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    Default Re: DWP Overpayment

    I've seen this listed on a few different debt sites:
    Benefit Overpayments & Social Fund Loans

    The Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) has 6 yearsicon to take action through the courts to recover benefit overpayments and social fund loans. This time starts running from the date of the final decision made on the overpaymenticon and from when the social fund loan was due to be paid. But the DWP are still allowed to make deductions from your benefit for a debt over 6 years old as they donít need to go to court to do this. This applies to overpayments of benefits such as income support, job seekers allowance, pension credit, housing benefit, council tax benefit and paying back social fund loans.

    So it looks like the Statue Barred does apply as they cannot take her to court over this, but they can get the money off her in the future through any benefits she may possibly claim.

    I shall send a letter off, not acknowledging the debt, requesting information on the exact dates of this debt and to provide detailed information on how this debt came about, including proof of any overpayments which were received.

    Not sure if they will be able to find this information due to the age of it, but maybe that's the best route to take for now.

    And if they can not provide this information then surely they cannot chase a debt which they have not proof of.


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    Default Re: DWP Overpayment

    yep have had a read around myself and found the above but also found other threads that say nay...the problem as i see it..is statute barredicon seems to refer to debts..this is not a debt but an overpaymenticon of government money..in other words taxpayers money..and we know from experience that this government and successive governments are paranoid about getting money back from people who they say were 'not entitled' to it..even if they couldnt get it from benefits what is to stop them getting it via a deduction from wages? personally i would look first at asking them to prove it..relying on whether they will have the info? i would think they have otherwise they wouldnt be asking for the money?


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    Basic Account Holder Brigadier 1JCS Novitiate

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    Default Re: DWP Overpayment

    Quite true they can only deduct from social security benefits and the law sets
    down what they can take supposedly to protect your minimum income, the debt
    remains, but is legally statute barredicon,the only exception is if a CCJ or liability order has previously been obtained. They can a willicon probably will palm this of to some DCAicon or pet solicitors such as Fairfax (formerly Eversheds) who will try to collect stat barred or not, if you are contacted do not send Fairfax income/expenditure details as they will misuse and twist it to their benefit, attachment of earnings is for a court to decide,in your case only if a CCJ is in place.
    Overpayments from any government dept., local authority are legally debts and become statute barred in the same way as any other debt

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  6. #6
    Basic Account Holder SteveMetal Novitiate

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    Default Re: DWP Overpayment

    I received another letter from the DWP today, totally ignoring the letter which I sent out to them.
    It states

    DO NOT IGNORE
    About the £*** still owed
    We have contacted you about paying back this money.
    You must make a payment by 17/8/2010
    Please do not ignore this letter. This will not mean you can avoid paying back this money, and you need to contact us to stop any further action being taken. If you cannot afford to pay this money you still need to contact us. We are willing to discuss the amount you pay each month.
    You must send any payments to:
    Depart for Work and Pensions
    PO Box address
    What happens next
    If we do not hear from you by the above date we will consider taking one of the following actions:
    a) Recovering this money through the courts b) Referring your case to a private company for repayment collection.
    You may have to pay additional costs if this happens, and your furture credit rating may be affected.

    In the letter which I sent to them I asked them for details of how this debt came about, including a breakdown of the dates and payments my wife is supposed to owe this money for, and also for proof that she has wrongly received this money by providing copies of any forms which she have supposed to have signed with my signatureicon on.

    They have not provided any of that information.

    Does this mean that they do not have any of this information?

    So what next, shall I just send another copy of the letter to them again stating that they have not provided the information which I asked for and once again ask for proof.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: DWP Overpayment

    If you wrote the letter, and it did not contain a signed letter from your wife authorising you to deal with this on her behalf, they likely would have ignored it.

    I suggest she submits a SARicon requesting the information relating to this alledged debt (templateicon in the attachment), this is a legal request which cannot be ignored - but it needs to come from her.

    She should also send a letter to debt managementicon stating that she does not acknowledge the debt, they have provided no evidence that she is in debt to DWP and until such a time as they do, the debt is in dispute. Add that she has sent a SARicon.

    Attached Files
    My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

    Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.
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  8. #8
    Basic Account Holder SteveMetal Novitiate

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    Default Re: DWP Overpayment

    The letter I sent was in my wife's name, she did not sign it, just printed her name to avoid them trying to duplicate her signatureicon. So i'm guessing they either don't have proof or just can't be bothered to look for it, and are hoping she will be scared into paying up.


  9. #9
    Basic Account Holder SteveMetal Novitiate

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    Default Re: DWP Overpayment

    We're just looking at this SARicon form, I assume she needs to fill in the whole form and send it with the letter, ticking all the relevant boxes in Part B (what information we require). What is the difference between Computer records and Clerical records?


  10. #10
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    Default Re: DWP Overpayment

    Hello. I think I'm right in saying that asking computer records will get you what's entered on the system and possibly screen prints. If in doubt, ask for everything, I would say.

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: DWP Overpayment

    I thought a SARicon was sort of restricted to 6 yearsicon info or is that just for bank statements?


  12. #12
    Basic Account Holder SteveMetal Novitiate

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    Default Re: DWP Overpayment

    I've read elsewhere that to send a request for an SARicon you also need to send a cheque for £10. Does this apply?


  13. #13
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    Default Re: DWP Overpayment

    From reading this forum, I know it's not always £10 and can be reduced in certain circumstances. This may be one for Erika later today.

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  14. #14
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    Default Re: DWP Overpayment

    Data controllers are allowed to charge a small fee for responding to a SARicon, but I'm pretty sure the DWP doesn't actually impose the charge.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: DWP Overpayment

    DWP don't charge for the service - that should be stated on the form in the attachment. A SARicon is only restricted to 6 yearsicon from when they stop processing data. They must have data (in some form or another) about this otherwise they would not be in a position to write asking for repayment. Though the data they may have may not necesserily prove it's owed.

    Ask for clerical records too. Computer records only contain the information that DWP inputs in the computerised system. Clerical files contain everything such as claim forms, letters written to DWP, DWP notes etc - everything that won't or can't go into the computer is stored. A clerical file is different to a wholly clerical claim. A clerical claim is where the information cannot be input into the computer, but every claim will have clerical (paper) files - unless they have been destroyed.

    They want paid, then they have to have some form of evidence which shows that
    a) there was an overpaymenticon
    b) the overpaymenticon was as a result of the claimant's misrepresentation or failure to disclose.

    If the overpayment has been caused by DWP or they cannot prove how it was caused then it isn't recoverable unless the claimant volunteers to repay it.

    My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

    Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.
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  16. #16
    Basic Account Holder SteveMetal Novitiate

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    Default Re: DWP Overpayment

    Thanks Erika,
    The money the DWP are chasing dates back to 2002 which is over 6 yearsicon, so is there any point in me sending a SARicon to them?


  17. #17
    Site Team antone Authoritative antone Authoritative antone Authoritative antone Authoritative antone Authoritative antone Authoritative antone Authoritative antone Authoritative antone Authoritative antone Authoritative antone Authoritative antone's Avatar

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    Default Re: DWP Overpayment

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetal View Post
    Thanks Erika,
    The money the DWP are chasing dates back to 2002 which is over 6 yearsicon, so is there any point in me sending a SARicon to them?
    Yes, because the 6 years relates to the date they stopped processing data about you. They're obviously still processing your data if they're demanding that you repay an alleged overpaymenticon.

    Sorry, I mean your wife's data, but same point nonetheless.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: DWP Overpayment

    What Antone said. They have data. And your wife is entitled to see it.

    My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

    Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.
    (exceptions for prior authorisation)


    If my advice has been helpful, please show your gratitude by taking a moment to click on the star icon on the bottom strip of my post






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  19. #19
    Basic Account Holder SteveMetal Novitiate

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    Default Re: DWP Overpayment

    Thanks Erika, i've filled the SARicon form in and prepared another letter, I shall send this tomorrow by Recorded Delivery and wait for their reponse.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: DWP Overpayment

    There is no time limit on recovery of overpayments of benefit.
    Was your wife notified of this benefit overpaymenticon back in 2002? I am assuming that there have been previous requests for recovery? Whilst they may be unable to pursue recovery in court, the overpaymenticon will not be written off.
    If not, if this is the first notification she has received about this overpayment she still has the right of appeal against the decision. This has to be done within a calendar month of the decision being issued.
    If your wife thinks she stopped claiming the benefit and withdrew her claim it may be official error if the payments continued after the notification, and therefore may not be recoverable. (If this is an old overpayment I assume that was investigated when the original letter was issued?)
    Due to data protection laws they are unable to provide information to anyone other than the benefit customer, which may explain why you didn't receive any reply to your request..



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